Virtual Holiday Season

Students share how they are spending their holiday season – COVID style.


In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, holiday preparations look a little different than they have in years past.
“Usually we spend the holidays with family and friends, but, to keep everyone safe, we won’t be doing that this year,” sophomore Savi Peiris said.
Large parties and family gatherings that usually occur at this time of year are unable to happen safely, which puts a slight damper on everyone’s holiday spirit.
“Everything is a lot more low-key because no one is coming over. My dad is a big christmas guy and loved having parties, but we aren’t having anyone [over] this year, just celebrating with immediate family,” junior Izzy Schrieber said.
Like many of the celebrations this year, people are trying to see friends and relatives virtually, which isn’t always an easy adjustment.
“I couldn’t make plans to spend time with my friends in person, so now we’re doing it online; but it’s been hard to adjust to doing everything on our computer,” sophomore Emily Lopez said.
Some events, like Secret Santas and other gift exchanges, are nearly impossible without being together.
“My brother and his fiancée live out of state, so we have to figure out a way to exchange gifts,” sophomore Sela Hale said.
Shifting holiday gatherings to video calls can be a difficult and occasionally frustrating process, and not always an enjoyable one.
”I’m probably going to be stuck on another Zoom call with relatives who don’t really understand technology,” said Hale.
Between internet issues and lack of things to discuss while activity is limited, video calls can start to seem like more of a chore than anything else.
“People are less willing to interact with each other for long periods of time,” sophomore Colin Wang said.
However, unprecedented circumstances can bring about creative solutions, and people are trying to make the best out of the situation.
“My family and our relatives always make an encyclopedia of family each year around the holidays, where we send in our favorite pictures of us for that year and make a photo book out of them. I’m glad we’ll still be able to mail each other the finished book without getting together,” said Wang.
Seeing and catching up with family members may be able to provide a little bit of normalcy that is so hard to find right now. People are constantly finding ways to modify their favorite holiday traditions so that they can be held virtually.
“I can’t do a Christmas show with my cousins, but I am having everyone send me a video of them performing something and then we’ll watch it on zoom together,” said Schrieber.
Hanukkah celebrations have been forced to move to a virtual setting as well. The celebration lasts eight nights, and in years past, families would get together to celebrate, exchange gifts, and light the menorah. Perhaps the most important tradition of the holiday, Jewish families sing the blessings and light the candles, adding one for every night to represent each day of Hanukkah. To modify this to a virtual setting, families are lighting their menorahs together over video call.

Not only are family gatherings being held virtually, but other big events have been modified to be more covid-friendly.
“We usually go to mass on Christmas Eve, but this year we have to watch it at home,” sophomore Cindy Leader said.
Even with these big changes to holiday celebrations, people continue to look forward to winter break and the holiday season.
“Holiday preparations have felt more exciting this year, as it is something to look forward to during these unusual times,” said Peiris.
Online school has been an exhausting adjustment, and everyone is in need of a break.
“I am definitely excited to not have school. I just love Christmas in general, it’s my favorite holiday,” said Leader.
Students will hopefully be able to use this time to rest and take part in seasonal activities that can be done safely during the pandemic, such as: decorating, watching holiday movies, and spending time with their families. Happy Holidays, Mustangs!